The ACGME core competencies: a national survey of family medicine program directors

Fam Med. 2005 Sep;37(8):576-80.


Background and objectives: Beginning in July 2002, all residencies were required to show that their residents were obtaining competency in six core areas defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Methods: In 2003, we surveyed all 444 family medicine program directors regarding the ACGME Core Competencies and how programs evaluated them.

Results: A total of 287/444 (64.6%) responded. Almost all (279/287) had heard of the ACGME Core Competencies, and most (257/287) had begun to implement evaluation programs. Of program directors responding, 67.6% identified patient care as the most important competency. Evaluation methods most frequently used were active precepting (76.0%), record review (72.8%), and procedure logs (63.8%). The least commonly used tools were OSCE (9.1%), audit of computer utilization and knowledge (10.5%), and simulations (11.1%). Respondents identified time (74.3 %) and faculty development (13.0%) as primary implementation barriers.

Conclusions: Program directors believe that patient care is the most important competency. Some programs are not yet attempting to address the competencies, and some were unaware of the accreditation implications of noncompliance with the Outcome Project. Time was identified as the major barrier to implementing core competency evaluation methods.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / standards*
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Humans
  • Physician Executives
  • Physicians, Family / standards
  • Professional Competence / standards*
  • Teaching / methods
  • Teaching / standards